Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness. Titus 1:1
Any of us who teach, mentor, or pastor could begin our resume exactly like Paul did. Christine, a servant of God and a disciple of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness.
Yes, it’s a mouthful but it sums up the mission of every teaching disciple. Teaching a knowledge of the truth is not an end to itself. It must culminate in furthering the faith of the listener. The first is an intellectual endeavor. The second is one of application, one where truth can be experienced and transformative.
Truth must lead to faith. If I know ‘in whom I have believed’, I have the choice to trust the One ‘in whom I have believed.’ I’ll never trust someone I don’t know, and I may not always choose to trust someone I do know.
I’ve had many things rock my world in my 60+ years of life. Many deaths, including the suicide of our son, financial hardship, losses, and betrayals. My list may not look all that dis-similar to yours. When each storm arrived, emotions were all over the place and the pain was disorienting. The truth of what I’d been taught about God was in my heart, but the chaos and shock begged me to distrust it. Faith was on the line. The question in each trial was this ~ would I seek God so that my faith could be strengthened, or would I hold Him accountable for the pain and assassinate His character? Faith led to life and godliness. Distrust led me elsewhere to painful detours. Sometimes it took a good long time for me to sort through it all. But in the wrestling, knowledge of the truth was at the foundation of my decision to trust or to not trust Abba, Father. Without solid teaching, there would have been nothing for faith to build upon.
Paul’s letter to Titus about the state of the churches on Crete was not an easy one to write, nor was it easy for Titus to teach the contents. Paul put the foundational pieces in place right at the opening. Teach the truth so that faith of the people could be furthered. Without that as the overarching mission, the rest of the letter would have been a waste of ink.
This whole message is for children, for that is what we are. Will I be a truth-seeker and will I trust You? The stuff of spiritual childhood. Amen